The Making of Economic Policy in the White House (ECON-UB 217)

This course shows students how economic policy gets made, and should get made, at the highest levels of federal government. It draws upon almost fifty years of economic policy-making, and the challenges that have confronted the men and women who have sat in positions of power in the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the National Economic Council. These challenges include the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system and the transition to a predominantly floating exchange rate world, the era of rampant inflation, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transition to market economies, the shock of 9/11, the financial crisis of 2008, and the Great Recession that followed. Lectures and discussions will lead to in-class exercises, in which students will role- play as advisers to US presidents from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump. What is it like to sit in the Oval Office and discuss policy with the president? To know that your input into his decisions will impact millions of people? To know that the wrong advice could be calamitous? Students will learn how to analyze policy problems and design solutions, taking into account the multi-dimensional aspects of making federal policy and the many constraints upon those decisions, including of course the influence of Congress. As part of the learning process, students will also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers who have worked at the very top of economic policy-making in the executive branch of government, and played a role in the policy-making process through their work in the media.

Economics (Undergraduate)
3 credits – 15 Weeks